According to Manitoba Health Culex tarsalis mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus (WNV) were collected last week in the Rural Municipality of Headingley.

This is reportedly the first mosquito pool that has tested positive for the virus in Manitoba this season.

Manitoba Health says that exposure to WNV is currently low but likely to increase in the coming weeks, as the highest risk period is historically in July and August. They note that Manitobans are reminded it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to contract the virus.

While most people who are infected will develop mild or no symptoms, some can develop severe symptoms that can result in hospital stays and even death. Recovery from WNV infection, particularly severe symptoms, can take months or years.

Manitobans are encouraged to enjoy outdoor activities while also reducing the risk of mosquito bites and potential exposure to WNV by:

  • reducing the amount of time spent outdoors during peak mosquito hours between dusk and dawn;
  • using an appropriate mosquito repellent; 
  • wearing light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and pant legs; 
  • maintaining door and window screens; and 
  • cleaning and emptying yard items that collect water. 

The provincial government notes that between 2017 and 2021, there have been 45 cases of WNV in Manitoba. Nine of those cases resulted in hospitalization, and four required intensive care.

There have been no confirmed human cases of West Nile virus have been in Manitoba yet this year.

WNV updates through the government will continue to be communicated to the public throughout the summer. 

For more information about prevention, symptoms, weekly average trap counts and more, click here.